What if tell you is good to be wrong?
It can sounds controversial, right?
But let’s think about the unexpected upside of being wrong. One of the universal struggles of life is our resistance to being wrong.
Whether we’re pitching an idea or defending an opinion. We often feel a strong need to be right and this tendency is reinforced by our cultural conditioning, which tells us that the person who is wrong is weak and foolish, while the person who is right is strong and capable.
Let’s say while in a discussion at work, we’re presenting an idea for how to solve a key problem. As we face opposing opinions. Even the thought of being perceived as wrong can stir up feelings of embarrassment and anger. But this resistance to being wrong causes us stress and suffering. It strengthens our ego and reinforces closeness to the world around us.
Often in order to be right. We won’t even listen to others opinions. So we miss out on opportunities to learn and grow. But it’s not our desire to be right, that’s the problem. It’s our response to being wrong.
We need to see being wrong, not as a defect or weakness, but as a natural part of our path. A sign that we’re learning and evolving. The Mindfulness practice for example encourages us to challenge our need to be right through the principle of beginner’s mind, beginner’s mind teaches us to approach challenges people and conflicts with an open mind and heart. It teaches us that every moment is an opportunity to see the world as new with a childlike curiosity and openness.
So in that same debate at work, we can say to ourselves, before I commit to my idea.
‘Why don’t I listen to the other perspective?
Who knows, perhaps I may be wrong. Maybe there’s something I can learn a new way of seeing things.’
When we let go of our need to be right, we become less authoritative and more curious, we declare fewer opinions, and ask more questions.
As the author Kathryn Schulz said:
“Far from being a mark of indifference or intolerance wrongness is a vital part of how we learn and change things to error, we can revise our understanding of ourselves and amend our ideas about the world.”
However disorienting difficult or humbling, our mistakes might be, it is ultimately wrongness. Not rightness, that can teach us who we are.
A person who knows it does not know, it is infinitely wiser than a person who thinks it knows, without knowing anything. (it was a tweet that I uploaded a few days ago)
Think about that…